Churches, Scouts sever ties with local council after new policy allowing gays

HOUSTON - Some Houston-area religious groups are showing their displeasure with the new policy allowing gay Boy Scouts to participate in the organization.

At least 30 sponsoring churches and 1,500 Scouts in a 16-county area have severed ties with the Sam Houston Area Council, since the policy took effect on January 1.

However, Lynda Sanders, Director of Marketing and Communications, said the impact is minimal.

"We don't anticipate any issues with our new policy.  While there has been a relatively small number of churches, donors, and members who have discontinued their involvement in Scouting after the decision to change our policy, overall there has been very limited impact. Our year-end membership will be nearly 48,000 and there will be a decline in members of approximately 3 percent.  Our units will be over 1,700, declining by approximately 2.7 percent.   We are processing all of our unit renewals and will have membership figures on January 13," Sanders said.

The Sam Houston Area Council is focusing on its 100th anniversary this year and plans to do more recruiting and community service.

"It is unfortunate that we have lost a small portion of chartering partners who provided Scouting units.  We are working with other nearby organizations who can add these Scouts who want to continue in the program.  We are also looking for new partners for the Scouting program which fosters character, leadership, citizenship and a duty to God,"  said Thomas Franklin, Director of Field Service.

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